New College of Health Sciences Introduced to JU

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Even with the distended unemployment rate and economic downturn, one career stays in high demand. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States will require an estimate of more than half-a-million additional nurses by the year 2018. Because of the increasing demand for specialized healthcare professionals, Jacksonville University recently introduced the College of Health Sciences as an expansion of the Nursing program.

“What we’ve done is kept the nursing program but created around it the College of Health Sciences,” said Lois Becker, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. “The goals for the College of Health Sciences are to offer a variety of degrees that students want and that meets the needs of the local and national community, look into other degrees that have to do with new focuses in science health care, and develop a program that really looks hard at health care delivery.”

Due to the large amount of nursing students and limited space, some athletic offices behind the Davis College of Business were transitioned over the summer to serve the needs of the nursing program. Those athletic offices have been moved to the first floor of the Botts Complex.

“The temporary buildings that are over in the trees, that’s all nursing now,” said Derek Hall, Vice President of University Relations. “They have labs and classrooms and offices. They are just so packed into this building. We had to give them some relief and that was our best short term option. We added a piece to that and changed the configuration. That was a real need that we had to do over the summer.”

New degrees such as speech pathology and health information technology offer a more specialized approach to the field of nursing.  Working with Brooks Rehabilitation, the Speech Pathology Masters degree seeks to assist people in any speech impediments they may have. Since nurses now require more specialization and schooling, the programs have become more demanding.

“Nursing is not an easy degree, it is a very rigorous program,” Becker said. “Like all great things, you have to work for it. The role of the nurse has expanded and the qualifications have increased. The need for qualified nurses is strong. Most must now do what doctors have done in the past.”

Jenna Holt, a junior in the Nursing program, accepts the challenges she faces in her nursing classes, saying that the most difficult aspect of nursing was the competition to get into a nursing school and secure a seat in the program. Jacksonville University was Holt’s first choice when choosing a nursing school and she looks forward to the opportunities that the expansion has to offer.

“The Jacksonville University nursing expansion is fantastic,” Holt said. “It now provides for a larger amount of students to be accepted into the program and it gives more people a chance to pursue a career in nursing. With the greater need for health care professionals, JU is doing a great service in being able to provide more nurses into the community.”

Producing qualified nurses with leadership capabilities for the Jacksonville community was the main goal for the College of Health Sciences.

“Jacksonville University plays an important role in the local economy,” Becker said. “I’ve met with many area nurses in hospitals and they say a Jacksonville University graduate is a preferred graduate.”

“The Nursing program is a big priority for Jacksonville University,” Hall said. “The new addition of the college of Health Sciences and the expansion of the Nursing program, the online Masters of Science and Nursing and the Doctorate of Nursing practice, Jacksonville University’s first doctorate program, have made it possible for future healthcare professionals to obtain the education they need to succeed and give back to their community.”

“I enjoy serving people and nursing is an amazing way to help and provide for them in ways that they are unable to do on their own,” Holt said. “In the future I hope to become a missionary nurse overseas. I think it is a beautiful picture when you can provide for both the physical and spiritual needs of a person.”

Whether the classes are online or on campus, new or old, expanding or specializing, the College of Health Sciences and the Nursing program will continue to educate and train future leaders and healthcare professionals.

“The classes have definitely been a challenge, but the teachers are more than helpful to make sure that we understand what we are learning so that we can be successful in our future careers,” Holt said. “I know that the education I am receiving here will help me become a better nurse in the future.”

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